JWT’s Gustavo Martinez is toast – the only question now is how does WPP deal with it?

JWT global boss Gustavo Martinez is the subject of a civil suit in New York launched by the agency’s PR director Erin Johnson.

Johnson alleges that Martinez (below with outgoing JWT CEO Bob Jeffrey) made racist and sexist comments and also behaved inappropriately at a number of events. We have yet to discover the details, but, no doubt, we will. Martinez is contesting the allegations, saying they’re “outlandish.”


Whichever way this turns out Martinez has to go. Innocent or not, you can’t run a high profile business, selling to women and women clients, with this going on. So JWT owner WPP has to act soon to ensure the holding company’s reputation is not diminished by this hoo-ha. Martinez has already said he’s not going to attend the US 4A’s conference and if you can’t do that how can you you be a big agency boss?

WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell had better deal with this – and quickly.


WPP has hired a top New York lawyer to lead what it calls an “independent investigation.” Sorrell says in a memo: “I just wanted to update you on the Erin Johnson lawsuit. We have decided to retain an outside law firm to conduct an independent investigation into the allegations in the complaint. Bettina Plevan of Proskauer Rose LLP will lead this. Feel free to use this information with clients, our people and other parties as you see fit.”

Johnson is on paid leave while Martinez remains in his role.

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